5 Warning Signs of a Faulty Foundation (and What to Do Next)

Marwa Hasan
Written by Marwa Hasan
Updated January 14, 2022
A beautiful luxury home
Photo: IP Galanternik D.U. / iStock / Getty Images Plus / Getty Images


  • Cracks in the foundation, walls, or chimney indicate a faulty foundation.

  • If your windows and doors are jammed or don’t close properly, it could be a foundation issue.

  • Fixing a foundation requires a professional to maintain the structural integrity of your home.

Get quotes from up to 3 pros!
Enter a zip below and get matched to top-rated pros near you.

Whether you're buying a new house or planning to live in your home for years to come, it's important to understand its condition, especially the foundation. When the foundation gets damaged, it shows signs that it needs repairs. This is why homeowners need to be vigilant enough to identify signs of a faulty foundation before they become bigger and pricier to fix.

Here are a few signs you can look out for, from uneven floors to warping walls, to catch and repair issues early before they become serious structural problems.

1. Cracks in the Foundation 

A strong foundation is a sign of a healthy structure. Make sure you inspect your basement every now and then. If you see any cracks, buckling, gaps, or crumbling on the foundation itself, it's a red flag that there are some issues. 

You may also start noticing musty smells or seeing bugs in the basement, such as pill bugs, silverfish, or roaches, which may have entered through unnoticeable cracks in the faulty foundation.

2. Uneven Floors or Ceilings

If you see sagging or sloping floors or ceilings, there is a good chance the foundation is weak. 

Identifying this problem is easy and will prevent the foundation damage from getting worse. Homeowners can test the floor using a level or with a marble or a ball; if the ball starts to roll, the floor isn’t level.

3. Cracking or Warping Walls

Look for cracks on the walls, gaps between the walls and ceiling, cracked corners, joints, or molding.

Keep in mind that not all cracks are bad; small cracks around windows or flooring are likely drywall expanding because of seasonal weather. Wide, growing cracks that are more than one-eighth of an inch wide are likely to underline a faulty foundation and must be inspected by a professional. The type of crack and severity indicates the level of the foundation problem. 

Decay or cracks in the concrete and brick exterior also represent a red flag that a home's foundation could be faulty and in need of repair. 

4. Windows and Doors That Are Too Loose or Too Tight

If your perfectly fitted windows and doors suddenly become crooked, can't open because they're stuck, or aren't closing properly, it's a sign that the foundation is settled.

When the foundation shifts or damages, the wall warps, and windows and doors will suddenly not fit quite as well. This also applies to garage doors and interior or exterior doors.

5. Leaning Chimney

If you notice any cracks or tilts in the chimney, it can mean that your foundation needs to be repaired. An unstable chimney will need to be repaired ASAP since it can be a safety hazard.

How Much Does It Cost to Repair a Faulty Foundation?

cracks on foundation of the old building structure
Photo: Artem / Adobe Stock

Whether you were able to detect home foundation damage or if a professional inspection has shown more serious problems, repairing the foundation quickly is essential to your home's integrity. Repairing a foundation will cost anywhere from $2,000 to $7,000.

How to Fix a Faulty Foundation

Rainwater and temperature change throughout the year are the main culprits of foundational damage. They cause the soil to expand and the foundation to settle. Overall, foundation repairs are something that needs to be handled by professionals to guarantee meeting the codes and to ensure the safety of your family and your home. 

To begin the repair process, a structural engineer will take a look at the damage to determine the repair plan. You will take the report to your local foundation repair contractor who will make sure to follow the report and make the required repairs. 

After repairing the faulty foundation, anything tilted, warped, or jammed should get back to its original position. However, any cracks that remain or other cosmetic damage can be easily mended.

Need professional help with your project?
Get quotes from top-rated pros.